Fire safety checks on private residential blocks

Following the recent tragedy at Grenfell Tower, Sandwell’s Housing Quality team has 170620 Melanie Dawes letter to private residential bodies asked me to circulate this letter from the Department of Communities and Local Government which is intended for all ‘for owners, landlords and managers of private residential blocks in England.’

Any local landlord with concerns about any aspect of fire safety should contact West Midlands Fire Service.


New Housing Benefit claims no longer accepted in certain Sandwell post-codes

Universal Credit - Housing Benefit

It’s finally happening …

From July 2017 as part of ongoing conversion to Universal Credit – we will no longer accept new claims for Housing Benefit from most people (there are certain very limited exceptions) whose postcodes start with any of the following combinations:

B62 8                           B64 5                         B64 6

B64 7                           B65 0                         B65 8

Anyone affected will need to claim Universal Credit (including the Housing Cost element) instead. They should do this online through

Most of Sandwell will remain unaffected by this change until July 2018 when the rest of the borough will be converted to what’s called ‘Full Service’ for Universal Credit.

The exceptions will be:

  • People above working age
  • Residents in certain supported accomodation
  • Families with three or more children

Full information about how UC works is available on


The Queen’s speech: Banning letting agents from charging fees to tenants.


A very quick post with apologies for the lack of detail.
As you may have seen on the news, the Queen’s speech today has announced proposed legislation by the government to ban letting agents from charging fees to tenants. This still has to go through parliament of course, but as the BBC news website points out, (here) this is something that all three of the main political parties included in their election manifestoes. So the idea has clear cross party support.
We will post on this again when we have more information.